EXPORTERS are encouraged to explore opportunities or expand investments in urban farm tourism deemed a viable business especially during this pandemic.
Dr. Mina Gabor, chair and president of International School of Sustainable Tourism, said bringing farms to the cities addresses food shortage, provides livelihood opportunities, and an avenue for education, additional revenue and community bonding.
“It is not just the farm tourism operators who benefit from their site. The local businesses also thrive because of the increased number of visitors who have needs to be met. Even exports can benefit from farm tourism, with the rise of many new artisanal products made onsite,” she said in a webinar.
Gabor said many products --from packaged foods to those types that can be woven and embroidered--are now available in many of the farm tourism sites.
“All these contribute to the appreciation of (the) landscape of the rural area. We noticed that every time you go to a place where you have now developed farming sites, many of these areas encourage people to keep it clean and (this is) good for our environment,” she added.
Gabor cited advantages of farm tourism, including improved food processing, increased visitor arrivals, investment in rural cuisine, new employment opportunities, conservation of the environment, and educational opportunities for locals and tourists alike.
“I have never seen so many developments in food processing as I have seen in the last two years. Food processing in different areas has become almost every day where you find people developing new food products,” she said.
Gabor said one of the important things happening today is the “food-to-table cuisine” where many hotels, restaurants, and other areas just produce or even buy within a certain radius so they are able to provide fresh products coming from the farms.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Consul Nina Mangio said the concept of sustainable tourism and farm tourism becomes more relevant as it not only contributes to the production of basic food needs of the citizenry, but also creates livelihood and job opportunities.
“This is particularly important during the current pandemic. Everyone is forced to innovate and take full advantage of any opportunity to create new businesses in any economy that has grown more limited because of health-related restrictions,” she said. (PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES)